#Sanchez sends Arsenal into FA Cup final

Alexis Sanchez ensured Arsenal’s stormy season will end with an FA Cup final after securing a 2-1 victory over Manchester City in extra time at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Arsenal will play Chelsea on May 27 in its third FA Cup final in four seasons. The competition has provided a comfort blanket for Arsene Wenger as he has failed to deliver the Premier League trophy since 2004.

But with Arsenal languishing in seventh place in the Premier League, and set to miss out on the Champions League, the heat remains on the manager whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge of City will end without silverware. That’s not what City was expecting when it hired the serial winner who had won titles in every campaign with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

City had led against Arsenal in north London, with Sergio Aguero completing a second-half counterattack after Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey gave the ball away in the opposition half. But Arsenal displayed the resolve lacking so often this year to turn the semifinal around, with defender Nacho Monreal producing a rare goal.

And Sanchez came through for Arsenal in extra time, just as he did for the joint-record 12-time FA Cup winners in the 2015 semifinal, producing a winner in the 101st minute. Mesut Ozil’s free kick was headed down by Rob Holding, Danny Welbeck missed his attempt but Sanchez demonstrated his poacher’s instinct to nudge the ball over the line.

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Source – TheJakartaPost

Tiger Woods undergoing again a back surgery

The former number one of the world has been struggling with hernias and back injuries for several years and now announced today that he has been under the knife for the fourth time to fight pain in his back and legs.

Tiger Woods won’t be playing golf again anytime soon.

Woods announced on his website Thursday that he has undergone yet another back surgery to alleviate pain in his back and leg.

“The surgery went well, and I’m optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain,” Woods said. “When healed, I look forward to getting back to a normal life, playing with my kids, competing in professional golf and living without the pain I have been battling so long.”

The surgery, which he revealed on TigerWoods.com, was described as successful, and patients typically can return to full activity in six months.

Woods, 41, says his goal is to continue to play professional golf and live without pain.

The surgery was done by Dr. Richard Guyer of the Center for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute, according to the Woods’ website.

“After he recovers from surgery, he will gradually begin his rehabilitation until he is completely healed,” Guyer said. “Once that’s accomplished, his workouts will be geared to allowing him to return to competitive golf.

 The 14-time major champion was out of action for 15 months after undergoing a pair of back surgeries in 2015. He’s only teed it up 19 times on the PGA Tour since 2014 because of various injuries, mostly related to his ailing back.

No miracle Barcelona 0-0 Juventus

Barcelona 0-0 Juventus (0-3 agg): Catalans crash out as Messi and co misfire at Nou Camp – 5 things we learned

Lightning didn’t strike twice.

This time Barcelona did leave themselves with far too much to do as composed an away performance you could wish to see in the Champions League to make the semi-finals.

On a night Barca needed everything he touched to turn to gold, Lionel Messi fired off target with the hosts best two chances either side of half-time.

Juventus always threatened the away goal that would have made the highly improbable impossible through the pace of Juan Cuadrado on the counter-attack.

In the end, though, their 3-0 first leg lead was more than enough as they registered an eighth clean sheet in 10 Champions League games this season.

Here are five things we learned…

ps, With a Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers

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Bayern Munich 1-2 Real Madrid

REAL DEFEAT BAYERN

Cristiano Ronaldo overturned Arturo Vidal’s header as Real Madrid won 2-1 at Bayern Munich, who had Javi Martinez sent off.

A second-half double from Cristiano Ronaldo secured a 2-1 win for Real Madrid against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena and a firm advantage in their Champions League quarter-final tie.

The Portugal captain struck two minutes after the break to cancel out Arturo Vidal’s bullet header before poking home a second to give the holders a strong result to take back to the Santiago Bernabeu for the return fixture.

Bayern had been good value for their lead but Vidal’s missed penalty allowed Madrid to get back into the match, before a red card for Javi Martinez left the Bundesliga leaders facing a battle to ensure they stayed in the tie.

The first half belonged to the home side and Vidal in particular, the midfielder scoring with one emphatic header, missing a clear chance for a second and blazing a controversial spot-kick over the crossbar.

Madrid responded through Ronaldo’s first goal in the tournament since September 27 and Martinez’s two quick-fire yellow cards gave them a foothold they never looked likely to relinquish, before Ronaldo’s second 13 minutes from time sealed the win – his 100th goal in European competition.

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Juventus 3-0 Barcelona: Turin giants stun Barca

Barcelona need another Nou Camp miracle if they are to reach the Champions League semi-finals after a crushing 3-0 loss to Juventus in Turin.

Paulo Dybala struck twice in a stunning first half and Giorgio Chiellini added a rare third after the break as the hosts claimed a commanding advantage ahead of next week’s second leg.

Dismal Barcelona’s only hope is to repeat their feat of the previous round, when they recovered from a 4-0 first-leg loss to Paris St Germain by beating the French side 6-1 at home.

But on the evidence of Tuesday night a second comeback looks highly unlikely after Juventus dominated proceedings with the help of Dybala’s brilliant first-half brace.

The home side hared out from the first whistle and had their first chance after less than three minutes when Gonzalo Higuain wasted a good chance in front of Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Luis Enrique’s men, smarting from a domestic defeat to Malaga at the weekend, looked clueless over how to deal with their opponents’ attacking threat and they fell behind with just seven minutes on the clock.

The superb Juan Cuadrado found Dybala on the right side of the box and the striker curled an excellent left-foot shot past the helpless keeper.

Barcelona responded well and could have grabbed an equaliser after 20 minutes when Lionel Messi threaded the ball to Andres Iniesta whose low shot was well saved by Gianluigi Buffon.

Moments later, Juventus surged down the left flank and Mario Mandzukic crossed for the unmarked Dybala, who fired his second of the game past ter Stegen to put the Italians 2-0 up.

Messi had an effort ruled out for offside on the half-hour before Juventus came close to increasing their lead when Cuadrado pulled back for Miralem Pjanic who blazed over the bar.

Barcelona started the second half in much better fashion with Messi rolling an effort inches wide of the upright and Buffon just beating Luis Suarez to an Ivan Rakitic through-ball.

Higuain rolled a weak effort at ter Stegen before Chiellini made it 3-0 after 55 minutes, out-jumping Javier Mascherano to head home only the second Champions League goal of his career.

Knowing a precious away goal could still help turn the tie in their favour, Barcelona began to press with Suarez trickling a fine chance wide then Neymar seeing an effort blocked by the busy Chiellini in the box.

Barcelona’s mis-firing mega-stars endured more frustration in the final quarter of an hour, Suarez mis-controlling after a pass across the six-yard box by Neymar, then Messi mis-judging a fine chance from a corner.

Marshalled by a towering performance by Brazilian Alex Santos, the Juventus defence held out and Messi’s last chance to reduce the deficit came to an end when he spun a free-kick into the Italians’ wall.

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Arsenal Defeated

Crystal Palace strengthened their survival bid and dented Arsenal’s top-four hopes with a superb 3-0 win at Selhurst Park on Monday Night Football.

Andros Townsend gave Crystal Palace a 1-0 lead with a close-range finish on 17 minutes, despite Arsenal’s dominance in possession in the first period.

The Gunners were second best after the break, and it was 2-0 just after the hour mark through Yohan Cabaye’s looping effort, before Luka Milivojevic put Palace three ahead from the penalty spot after Emiliano Martinez brought down Townsend.

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Ibrahimovic inspiration keeps Man United in top-four race

After 30 minutes of Sunday’s Premier League game against Sunderland, Manchester United appeared in danger of meandering its way to another disappointing result.

Thankfully for manager Jose Mourinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic had other ideas.

The Swedish forward demanded the ball be played to him on the edge of the penalty area, and then evaded the attempts of two Sunderland defenders to halt his progress before sending an unstoppable strike into the far bottom corner.

“You need these players sometimes to make it and normally every top team has a couple of them that can make a difference. Zlatan did that with the goal,” Mourinho said.

After Ibrahimovic’s moment of inspiration, the result was never in doubt and a red card for Sebastian Larsson left space for Henrikh Mkhitaryan and substitute Marcus Rashford to seal the points for United.

With the league’s top four all having won on Saturday, the victory ensured United kept pace in the race for Champions League qualification as it moved above Arsenal into fifth and within four points of fourth-place Manchester City, which has played one more game.

Sunderland remains bottom having now failed to score in its last seven games, 10 points adrift of safety.

“We reacted to the results of yesterday,” Mourinho said. “We got the three points, [with a] solid performance against a team that is sad. When you play against a team that is sad, if you score before [them], the game is almost over because it is difficult to react.”

“After Liverpool and Manchester City’s victories, if we didn’t win today it’s almost mathematically impossible [to finish fourth].”

Unlike its rivals, United can still qualify for next season’s Champions League by winning the Europa League. It resumes its campaign with a quarterfinal first leg in Belgium against Anderlecht on Thursday.

Source – TheJakataPost

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Nadal on track for Federer showdown as Sock downed

MIAMI, March 30, 2017 – Rafael Nadal took a step closer to a possible final against long-time rival Roger Federer in the Miami Open after a straight sets win over American Jack Sock on Wednesday at Key Biscayne.

Nadal’s 6-2, 6-3 win over the 13th-seeded Sock sets up a semi-final meeting with unseeded Italian Fabio Fognini who upset second ranked Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-2 earlier in the day.

The Spaniard’s forehand was ominous as he neutralised Sock in one hour and 22 minutes.

Nadal was able to save six of seven break points earned by Sock as he kept control of the contest.

He broke Sock in the American’s first service game and swiftly established a 3-0 advantage and a second break at 5-2 wrapped up the opening set.

The American showed his spirit though as he broke Nadal at the start of the second but was unable to take advantage of a double break that could have put him 3-0 up.

Instead Nadal pulled back to 2-2 and with Sock failing to make the most of a chance of further break points it was comfortable in the end.

The 30-year-old Spaniard has never won in Miami despite being a four-time finalist and he expects plenty of work to get past Fognini and make it a fifth appearance.

“We know each other very well. He has beaten me a couple of times and so it will be a good test. I am happy to be the semi-finals but it will be a tough one and I will need to play my best,” said Nadal.

Fognini has three wins from ten meetings with the Spaniard, the most recent coming on clay in Rio de Janiero in 2015.

The 29-year-old world number 40 showed plenty of confidence as he took the game to his Japanese opponent from the outset.

It was the Italian’s first victory in three attempts over Nishikori and his first Masters series quarter-final win since 2013, when he reached the last four in Monte-Carlo.

Nishikori earlier said he had not felt fully in top shape for the contest.

“I wasn’t 100%, physically, I mean, it was tough conditions for me,” he said, referring to the heat on the mid-afternoon Key Biscayne centre court.

“But it was also same for him, too. He was playing a lot of the long matches, but I think he still played good enough to beat me today,” he added.

Fognini, who was cheered on by his friend, former Italy footballer Christian Vieri, said he had come through a demanding test.

“It wasn’t easy and I was just focused on my game. I am very happy, I’m in the semifinal, I’m playing well and I feel good again on the court,” he said.

On Thursday, Federer takes on Czech tenth-seed Tomas Berdych while the last quarter-final pits Germany’s Alexander Zverev against Australia’s Nick Kyrgios.

Source -TheNation

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Roger Federer reaches Indian Wells final against Wawrinka

Roger Federer might soon have to reset his goals for the year, seeing how well things are going for him.

Having won his record 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, Federer will pursue a record-tying fifth BNP Paribas Open title after beating Jack Sock 6-1, 7-6 (4) Saturday to reach the final.

He takes on Stan Wawrinka in an all-Swiss title match after Wawrinka eased past Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-3.

Federer was sidelined by various injuries for much of last year, forcing him to skip Indian Wells. Heading into this year, his plan was to play as far as the Miami event next week and then see how he felt.

“I was just happy to be feeling healthy again at the end of last year,” he said. “I was just happy to be playing another 10 events maybe.”

Now, Federer is poised to win his 90th career title in the final, keeping him third behind Jimmy Connors ( 109 ) and Ivan Lendl ( 94 ) for the most titles in the Open era.

“It’s not a goal of mine per se to play until I reach 100,” he said. “Could be. It’s a nice goal to have. But that stuff can change. Ask me again in three to six months how I’m feeling, if I won any more or not.”

Federer is 4-2 in finals at Indian Wells with his last title coming in 2012. He owns a 19-3 edge over Wawrinka, including 14-0 on hard courts, and has won their last three meetings, including in the Australian Open semifinals in January.

Two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova plays 14th-seeded Elena Vesnina in an all-Russian women’s final Sunday.

Source – TheJakartaPost

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